Local fundraisers have won recognition this week for raising £13,000, funding a guide dog into a partnership with someone with sight loss. Thanks to these hard-working volunteers, guide dog Hannah (pictured) is now fully funded to support someone with sight loss for her working dog career.
It costs around £55,000 to breed, train and support a guide dog throughout their life. Guide Dogs continues to support the dogs during their time working as a guide, so the £13,000 figure covers the cost of food, vets' bills and ongoing training after the dog is partnered with someone with sight loss.
The fundraising group, made up entirely of volunteers, raised the sum through local activities like collections and sponsored events. The group is expanding and is looking for more volunteers to join in.
Krissie Isaac, of Guide Dogs, said: "This amazing group of volunteers have done incredibly well to raise this sum, which will make a real difference for the people we support.
"Volunteers kindly offer their time, support and energy to our charity. Without them, we wouldn't be able to continue our work.
"Our guide dogs are truly life-changing, allowing people with sight loss to enjoy the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
"We are so proud of our volunteers and would like to thank them for everything they do. We also wish to recognise the fantastic support that the group receives from individuals and businesses within the local community."
There are over 24,000 people living with sight loss across Somerset. While not all of these people are registered blind, their sight loss is significant enough to impact their daily lives.
Guide Dogs is looking for more volunteers to help out in a number of roles, from fundraising to helping raise puppies. To find out about volunteering for Guide Dogs, visit their website or call 0800 781 1444.
Of course, if you don't have to join a fundraising group in order to help. You can sponsor a puppy for a small monthly donation (or large if you prefer!) and get regular pupdates. My own sponsored puppy, Comet, was recently seen trying out his skills helping his trainer buy shoes. A pup after my own heart!